International Journal of English Language Teaching (IJELT)

EA Journals

L2 Vocabulary Knowledge and Listening Proficiency: Highlighting Key Principles Governing Their Intertwinement


Empirical research examining the relevance of lexical knowledge to L2 listening ability has shown that the two constructs are immensely intertwined in L2 learning contexts. That is, whereas L2 learners’ listening comprehension can always be boosted when they possess higher levels of vocabulary knowledge, learners also can add up new words to their lexicons whilst listening to L2 content. This article critically discusses the reciprocal relationship between the two constructs of L2 listening performance and vocabulary knowledge as evident from the body of empirical research carried out on each side of the relationship. Nine key principles pinpointing the intertwinement are drawn from this body of research. The ultimate aim is to provide EFL practitioners with a firsthand guide that could regulate all classroom and non-classroom practices by teachers and learners alike as to L2 listening tasks and vocabulary learning. As such, whereas EFL teachers are encouraged to call on the nine principles prescribed here in setting up all classroom listening tasks and activities, learners are called upon to adapt and alter their L2 listening habits and strategies in and outside the EFL classroom in accordance with these principles.


Keywords: Vocabulary Knowledge, aural vocabulary knowledge, listening proficiency, vocabulary breadth, vocabulary depth, vocabulary size, written vocabulary knowledge

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